World Champs Women’s Heptathlon — Thiam’s Return

London ’17 winner Nafi Thiam dropped to silver at Doha ’19 but bounced back to gold here. (KEVIN MORRIS)

BYPASSING THE WORLD INDOOR pentathlon and the traditional multi-fest at Götzis, Nafi Thiam was quiet most of the year. But the 27-year-old Belgian roared when it counted most, regaining the WC gold she lost in ’19 after her 1st in ’17.

The main competition came not from defending champ Katarina Johnson-Thompson, but from the Netherlands’ Anouk Vetter and American Anna Hall, youngest in the field at 21.


100 Hurdles

Thiam’s PR of 13.34 dated back to her ’17 Götzis victory. A seasonal best of 13.50 gave no indication that was in danger, but she cooked up a 13.21 to win the first race.

Trouble was immediately apparent for American Kendell Williams, who was nursing a plantar fascia injury. She ran just 13.54 (her PR is 12.58). KJT showed some hope with a yearly best of 13.55, even if much off her 13.09 PR.


High Jump

No one PRed, but there was good jumping nonetheless. Thiam was solid at 6-4¾ (1.95), equal to the best in meet history. She now projected to 6992. Also impressive was Hall at 6-1¼ (1.86), her highest since a foot injury at last summer’s Olympic Trials. Hall’s projected score was now 6585, beginning to gain momentum. KJT, however, was trending downward with for her a lowly 6-0 (1.83) — her PR is 6-6 (1.98).


Shot

PRs flowed like the Willamette River, as Vetter (53-3¾/16.25), Hall (44-10¼/13.67), Noor Vidts of Belgium (47-4¼/14.43) and 23-year-old Adrianna Sułek of Poland (46-4¼/14.13) registered lifetime bests. Thiam didn’t PR but her 49-3¾ (15.03) was an improvement on her PR score and she now projected at a would-be PR 7027.


200 Meters

Four in the field PRed, led by Hall at 23.08, moving her into 3rd, 210 points ahead of her PR score. Thiam (4071 after a near-PR 24.39) and Vetter (4010 with a solid 23.73) were in control.

“I am confident that tomorrow is going to be good too if I can get enough rest,” said Thiam. “I am in better shape than Tokyo, but I can’t say I’m in better preparation because I had a lot of problems too. Before these championships, I was feeling calm and confident, which is the big difference.”


Long Jump

The main contenders were solid, led by Thiam at 21-7½ (6.59). Vetter PRed at 21-4¾ (6.52) and Sułek tied her best at 21-1¼ (6.43). Hall had her third-best career jump, 20-11¾ (6.39). Thiam (5107) and Vetter (5024) continued at 1-2 as Sułek (4967) edged ahead of Hall (4963).


Javelin

Vetter was close to her best at 191-3 (58.29) to take the lead with 6045. Thiam was next-farthest at 173-11 (53.01) to rest at 6026. Thiam’s projection dipped below 7000 at 6915, while Vetter was looking at 6847. Hall scored the only PR in the event with a nice 150-1 (45.75) to move back into 3rd over Sułek.


800 Meters

Thiam needed a solid effort and she delivered her best ever at 2:13.00, a PR by 2-plus seconds, to secure the victory with 6947. Vetter was a couple of seconds off her best, but even a PR wouldn’t have caught Thiam as she was 80 points back at 6867, a PR by more than 100.

Hall, who normally is all alone in this event, found company. The 2:03.11 runner was leading the way but had close followers in Vidts and, surprisingly, Sułek, whose PR was 2:13.80. Hall won in 2:06.67, earning the bronze with 6755 points ahead of Sułek’s double-PRs (2:07.18 in the 800 and a Polish Record 6672 score). Vidts ran a PR 2:08.50 and finished 5th with 6559.

Thiam’s score of 6947 was a career second highest behind her 7013 PR from Götzis ’17, and this one featured PRs in the first and final events. She and Vetter surpassed the Hayward Field record of 6770 by JJK in ’93.

Hall’s bronze is the first medal by an American since ’01, when Shelia Burrell also earned bronze. At 6755 she is now behind only JJK (7291) and Jane Frederick (6805) on the all-time U.S. list.


WOMEN’S HEPTATHLON RESULTS

(July 17–18)

1. Nafi Thiam (Bel) 6947 (WL)

(13.21, 6-4¾/1.95, 49-3¾/15.03, 24.39, 21-7½/6.59, 173-11/53.01, 2:13.00);

2. Anouk Vetter (Neth) 6867 NR

(13.30, 5-10¾/1.80, 53-3¾/16.25, 23.73, 21-4¾/6.52, 191-3/58.29, 2:20.09);

3. Anna Hall (US) 6755 PR (AL) (extended-season CR) (3, x A) (non-JJK: 2, 2 A)

(13.20, 6-1¼/1.86, 44-10¼/13.67, 23.08, 20-11¾/6.39, 150-1/45.75, 2:06.67);

4. Adrianna Sułek (Pol) 6672 NR

(13.28, 6-2¼/1.89, 46-4¼/14.13, 23.77, 21-1¼/6.43, 136-7/41.63, 2:07.18);

5. Noor Vidts (Bel) 6559

(13.20, 6-0/1.83, 47-4¼/14.43, 23.92, 20-9¼/6.33, 136-6/41.62, 2:08.50);

6. Annik Kälin (Swi) 6464 NR

(13.17, 5-8½/1.74, 44-11¾/13.71, 24.05, 21-6¼/6.56w, 158-3/48.25, 2:17.49);

7. Emma Oosterwegel (Neth) 6440

(13.44, 5-9¾/1.77, 47-3/14.40, 24.43, 19-6¼/5.95, 177-3/54.03, 2:13.97);

8. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GB) 6222

(13.55, 6-0/1.83, 42-4¾/12.92, 23.62, 20-7¼/6.28w, 128-6/39.18, 2:19.16);

9. Claudia Conte (Spa) 6194 PR

(13.65, 6-1¼/1.86, 40-10½/12.46, 24.77, 19-8¼/6.00, 146-7/44.69, 2:14.14);

10. Paulina Ligarska (Pol) 6093

(14.19, 5-9¾/1.77, 46-2½/14.08, 24.65, 19-3½/5.88w, 150-6/45.89, 2:15.36);

11. Ashtin Zamzow-Mahler (US) 5974

(13.47, 5-9¾/1.77, 42-7½/12.99, 25.15, 18-8/5.69, 158-10/48.41, 2:22.28);

12. Michelle Atherley (US) 5959

(13.12, 5-7¼/1.71, 41-2½/12.56, 23.97, 19-8¼/6.00, 106-1/32.33, 2:12.16);

… dnfs—

Kendell Williams (US) 4947

(13.54, 5-7¼/1.71, 41-8½/12.71, 25.27, 18-4¼/5.59, 143-8/43.80, dnc);

Sophie Weißenberg (Ger) 3692

(13.51, 5-8½/1.74, 44-6¼/13.57, 24.06, 3f, dnc);

Xénia Krizsán (Hun) 3661

(13.46, 5-8½/1.74, 46-2½/14.08, 24.82, 3f, dnc).


Heptathlon Top 10 Leaders by Event

100 Hurdles
1. Atherley 1106; 2. Kälin 1099; 3. tie, Vidts & Hall 1094; 5. Thiam 1093; 6. Sułek 1083; 7. Better 1080; 8. Oosterwegel 1059; 9. Krizsán 1056; 10. Zamzow-Mahler 1055

High Jump
1. Thiam 2264; 2. Sułek 2176; 3. Hall 2148; 4. Vidts 2110; 5. Conte 2082; 6. Johnson-Thompson 2059; 7. Vetter 2058; 8. Kali 2002; 9. Oosterwegel 2000; 10. Zamzow-Mahler 1996

Shot
1. Thiam 3127; 2. Vetter 3003; 3. Sułek 2979; 4. Vidts 2933; 5. Hall 2920; 6. Oosterwegel 2821; 7. Johnson-Thompson 2781; 8. Kälin 2777; 9. Conte 2774; 10. Krizsán 2758

200
1. Thiam 4071; 2. Vetter 4010; 3. Hall 3991; 4. Sułek 3982; 5. Vidts 3921; 6. Johnson-Thompson 3798; 7. Oosterwegel 3761; 8. Kälin 3753; 9. Weissenberg 3692; 10. Conte 3682

Long Jump
1. Thiam 5107; 2. Veter 5024; 3. Sułek 4967; 4. Hall 4963; 5. Vidts 4874; 6. Kälin 4780; 7. Johnson-Thompson 4735; 8. Oosterwegel 4595; 9. Conte 4532; 10. Atherley 4505

Javelin
1. Vetter 6045; 2. Thiam 6026; 3. Hall 5741; 4. Sułek 5666; 5. Kälen 5606; 6. Vidts 5572; 7. Oosterwegel 5533; 8. Johnson-Thompson 5387; 9. Conte 5289; 10. Ligarska 5205